Luka Magnotta trial: Pathologist calls victim’s autopsy difficult

The pathologist who drafted the 13-page autopsy report determining Jun Lin’s cause of death testified today at Luka Magnotta's first-degree murder trial that it was a difficult process because of the state of the body.

Warning: Story contains graphic content

Luka Magnotta is charged with five offences, including first-degree murder, in the 2012 death of Jun Lin. Lin's dismembered torso found outside Magnotta's apartment, and today a pathologist described the autopsy he performed.

The pathologist who drafted the 13-page autopsy report determining Jun Lin’s cause of death testified at Luka Magnotta's first-degree murder trial that it was a difficult process because of the state of the body.

Yann Dazé, a forensic pathologist, testified Thursday that he performed the autopsy over five non-consecutive days between June 1, 2012, and July 5, 2012.

The jury heard Lin’s throat was slit with a knife, which was identified as the likely cause of death, but the pathologist was unable to determine whether numerous blows to the victim’s head were inflicted before or after his death.

During much of the scientific testimony, Magnotta, 32, looked down at the ground from his position inside a glassed-in enclosure in the courtroom, listening to a translation via a headset.

The court heard the remains were recovered from different locations and sent to the pathologist's lab over the course of a month. 

He specified the body had suffered major trauma and was in an advanced state of decomposition. 

Jun Lin’s torso was found on May 29, 2012, in a suitcase outside Magnotta's Montreal apartment. 

His hands and feet had been sent to locations in Ottawa and Vancouver and his head was recovered in a Montreal park.

The witness testified that the police showed him 10 photographs from the investigation. Officers told him remains were recovered from Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal and that various tools had also been seized.

Traces of sleeping pills found in Lin

Dazé used medical sketches to show the jury the wounds he documented on the victim — around 60 cuts and lacerations to the torso and back. The pathologist also detailed numerous bone fractures and wounds to the head, consistent with those that would be caused by blows from a hammer.

The court also heard further details of how the body was dismembered after death, including how a small piece of the left buttock was removed.    

A biologist is expected to testify next week about substances found in Lin’s blood, but Dazé did tell the jury traces of two drugs were found: temazepam, a sleeping pill, and diphenhydramine, used both to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleeping aid.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked the pathologist if he had watched an online video that depicts some aspects of the killing.

Dazé responded he had not, not only because he did not want to taint his expertise while performing the autopsy, he also had no interest in it because he sees enough "disgusting things” at work.

Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but has agreed to the facts of the case, including that he killed Lin.

His lawyer told the court that he intends to prove Magnotta was not criminally responsible for his actions because of mental illness. He said Magnotta suffers from schizophrenia.

Bouthillier told the court he will present evidence that shows Magnotta had documented a plan to kill someone six months before Lin's death.